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In Session

How to overcome the biggest obstacle to sustainability: Packaging

plain packaging
The challenges of optimizing a sustainable packaging portfolio for your company can seem daunting, but the payoffs are immense. Three experts discuss resources, tools and case studies to help companies jump hurdles and make a direct impact on climate change.

"Packaging is this unique opportunity to meet consumers where they are and to have an impact on climate.”

—Deanna Bratter, DanoneNorth America

Part 1: Addressing the Achilles heel

Highlights from introduction by Lara Dickinson, OSC2:

  • Packaging is a huge part of looking toward the future of sustainability.
  • The session explores packaging-related emission issues and case studies of brands that are taking action toward redesigning their packaging to be more sustainable.



Part 2: Mainstreaming sustainability 

Highlights from Prashant Jagtap, Trayak:

  • Prashant Jagtap, Trayak, discusses what mainstreaming sustainability looks like and how companies can design and manufacture their entire product portfolio using sustainable strategies.
  • How to balance damage rate and excess packaging. Optimizing package design and sourcing materials sustainability by increasing post-consumer recyclable (PCR) content, using bio-based materials and phasing out harmful materials.
  • Using life-cycle analysis (LCA) to determine your company’s carbon footprint, incorporate feedback in early in the design process, and calculate company wide impact for global reporting initiative, investors and stakeholders.
  • The top eight indicators that Trayak measures to give companies a complete look at environmental impact of packaging.
  • Example case study that details the process and the challenges that a company could face when trying to reach its sustainability goals.



Part 3: Breakthrough innovations in plant-based packaging

Highlights from Deanna Bratter, Danone North America:

  • “Packaging is this unique opportunity to meet consumers where they are and to have an impact on climate.”
  • How Danone North Americais looking at a broad value chain approach and bringing packaging to life.
  • Five main strategies to building a sustainable, circular economy of packaging  
  • Breakthrough innovation: Plant powered bottles made of 80 percent plant material that is also recyclable.
  • Consumer education around recycling and connecting with consumers about sustainability.



Part 4: Incremental steps towards impact

Highlights from Jane Franch, Numi Organic Tea:

  • Numi’s story of sustainability.
  • Sustainable packaging milestones of Numi Organic Tea throughout the last 20 years.
  • Why starting today and taking incremental steps towards redesigning your packaging is essential.  
  • Free online tools and resources for measuring environmental impact.
  • Numi’s priorities: Plant based, non-GMO, compostable.
  • Innovations in compostable tea bag wrappers.



Part 5: Panel discussion and Q&A


  • The best path for companies that are first starting out is to collect the data to determine your current carbon footprint.
  • Don’t let perfection stop you from doing good.
  • How to curb costs while making changes in your current manufacturing and co-packer facilities.
  • The potential for flexible packaging moving forward.
  • Safeguards in data tools addressing petroleum-based materials having LCA advantages over bio-based materials. 



Part 6: Panel discussion and Q&A


  • The importance of labeling that educates consumers and makes it clear that the packaging is helping to fight climate change. 
  • How far along are consumers with sustainable packaging?
  • Businesses are responsible and hold the power to drive change with consumers, manufacturers and infrastructure. 
  • How do we help companies just starting out in developing their sustainability programs? 
  • Suggestions around assessment of packaging materials for toxicity and chemical leeching into products. 

This session—It's A Wrap: Reducing the Climate Impact of Your Packaging—was recorded at Natural Products Expo West 2018. 

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